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Student Obtains Much through Internship

Student Obtains Much through Internship

Josh Tomlinson is a Senior Pastoral Studies major who is finishing his internship at Lawson Bible Church on Dec 23.  “This internship has been such an incredible experience,” said Tomlinson.  “I am so grateful that God chose to send me here to serve.”

He has been serving at the church since August 29.  His tasks have included working with the youth group on Wednesday nights, serving on the worship team, and doing a little preaching. He has had the opportunity to learn a lot by joining their worship team and playing bass guitar on a weekly basis.  He is grateful for how God has challenged him while working in all three capacities. He can see that these opportunities have helped prepare him as he is about to graduate and look for his own ministry in the near future. 

Recently he had the opportunity to preach on John 17.  Josh has come to the realization that each time he preaches, the word of God impacts him just as much or more as the people in the congregation.  He is grateful for each preaching or teaching opportunity he gets because he can see himself maturing and he can also see his teaching and preaching style is being molded.   

This specific internship is very special because of the mentoring relationship that has begun to develop between him and Dr. Skip Hessel who is a professor at Calvary.  Dr. Hessel is also part of the leadership at Lawson Bible Church. They agreed to get together on Thursdays some time ago to begin talking about the possibility of an internship, but as time has gone by they have started a mentoring relationship that has surpassed just the internship.  Now they both take opportunities to truly challenge each other in critical areas when they meet weekly.  Josh is grateful for Skip and how he has been impacted personally by him to think deeper and more practically.  He is always challenged through the experiences Skip shares. 

Overall because of an experience like this, Josh is more confident in who God made him as a person to go and impact the world.  We are so grateful to see students like Josh come to Calvary and go through classes, projects, and internships, while they are building relationships that sharpen them as they seek to impact the world for Jesus Christ.

Calvary Staffer Receives Honorable Mention in National Essay Contest

Calvary Staffer Receives Honorable Mention in National Essay Contest

Sharon Manning (right) speaking with Romanian President Ion Iliescu in 1996.

Sharon Manning’s essay told of her time in Europe and her opportunity to witness to Romanian President Iliescu.

Calvary’s Cashier, Sharon Manning, had no concept of attending college after she graduated from high school.

“I never heard of a Christian college,” she said, “so I always wished, when I found out about Bible colleges, that I could go.” The wishing went on for decades, “But God just kept shutting the door.” After fracturing her back at work, Manning found herself with time on her hands. “My mind just kept going to Bible college… And then one day it occurred to me, I looked up and I said, ‘God, is this you?’”

She packed up her life and started the process of moving. “God let me know, ‘You’re not gonna do this in a tidy package. This is gonna be a walk of faith.’” Now, she works as Calvary’s Cashier, continuing to pursue higher education.

When Manning heard about Townsend Press’s writing contest on personal belief systems, she entered an essay on her life with Christ. Her article covered how she came to Christ and how He carried her through difficult times in her life, and detailed some of the unexpected experiences she encountered serving in Romania. “At first, we did mission runs to provide physical necessities, Bibles, materials for underground printing presses, and other supplies to help further the ministry behind the Iron Curtain in a number of what were then Communist countries.” Speaking of her time in Romania, she said, “Challenges came in the form of mobs; bloody knife fights; thefts; con games; detentions; conflicts; and constant harassment and threats from police; border guards; government officials; and others.”

Despite the dangers of life, she found ways to use her circumstances to witness to others. She was living in Germany when the Berlin Wall fell, and “I bought an ALDI bag of these rocks [from the broken-down wall].” She wrote a letter saying, just like the statue of liberty represents freedom for America and the fall of the Berlin Wall represents freedom for Eastern Europe, Christ represents spiritual freedom. Manning paired these letters with pieces from the Berlin Wall and was able to give them to “President Iliescu, his body guards, and multiple American Ambassadors and Consulates at the American Embassy in Bucharest, Romania.”

“God just got it through my head. This is a broken world and it’s full of broken people, and he’s still God… and I can’t just quit living.”

While in Romania, Manning’s family suffered a personal tragedy. Manning described the situation, “I felt like, in a moment, my whole life was jerked up.” In her early years before she came to faith, Manning had experienced a deep, disconnected despair. When her life was struck with turmoil, these feelings returned. “Once again it appeared as though my future was nothing more than a black hole of despair and hopelessness, and that everything I had poured my life into had come to ruin and disgrace.” Looking back now, she can see that “God allowed everything to be taken away. But God was there.”

Speaking of her time on the mission field, Manning said, “I think it just shows the power of God. God was blessing us in so many ways.” After leaving the field, she struggled to share the gospel with others in the face of her own brokenness. “But God just got it through my head. This is a broken world and it’s full of broken people, and he’s still God… and I can’t just quit living.”

When she submitted her essay, Townsend Press awarded Manning an honorable mention and prize. She cited it as just another example of God’s provision for her. Manning closed her essay by referencing Joel 2:25, where God promises Israel, “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.” Manning said, “From the very beginning, this verse kept coming to me. And in to many ways, God has and God is giving me back the years that the locust have eaten. It’s only the grace of God.”

Doubts, Sorrows, and the God Who Carries Them: Reflections From a Dumpster

Doubts, Sorrows, and the God Who Carries Them: Reflections From a Dumpster

What is the place for a show called Doubt?

Calvary’s fall theatre production, Doubt: A Parable, tells the story of a nun in the 1960s. The nun believes a priest has been sexually abusing a boy named Donald in the parish school and sets out to have him removed. The topic and content raise the question: What is the intent of a production titled Doubt?

I read the script for Doubt my first semester at Calvary, and immediately loved its literary craft. I read it again the next year and found it resonated even more. It echoed passions God had already begun planting in my heart. As Calvary gears up to tell this thoughtful story, it is vital for us to know why it matters.

Finding Freedom in a Dumpster

How does this story speak the truth, love, and beauty of God? The answer, for me, was found in a dumpster. Some of the most prayerful and vulnerable moments of my life were spent there when, as a cabin leader playing hide-and-seek with the campers, I found myself crouched in a dumpster with plenty of time to think and process.

The camp I counseled at serves indigenous kids in western Canada, and I felt way out of my depth. Their culture is defined by both a history of sexual abuse perpetrated by religious leaders in schools during the 1800s and a destructive cycle that has far outlived the original abuse. Victims turn to substance, sexual,  and domestic abuse and suicide in a culture that identifies itself by these tragedies. Every year, the reservations hold memorial services for the children whose identity and innocence were taken in the residential schools. These wounds of sexual abuse, inflicted by those who were and are meant to protect, last generations.

In a training session at the camp, a man who grew up in the indigenous culture spoke from Isaiah 53 and pointed out a verse I had previously overlooked. When we share the gospel, we communicate that Jesus can save you from your sins. This is true, but it is only part of the picture. Was he pierced for our transgressions, and crushed for our iniquities? Absolutely. But that was not all Christ accomplished at the cross. Isaiah also says, “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering.” So often we give Christ our sins but hold on to our sorrows, even though we cannot hope to carry them. And it is this deep grief that Doubt addresses.

These offenses create pain that only the God-man can heal. But the story and the pain run deeper. What Donald needs—someone to carry his pain—he looks for in Father Flynn. This solidarity is exactly what Sister Aloysius, Sister James, and even Father Flynn are also looking for. Someone to lift the weight.

The God Who Carries Pain

Pain is very real. You don’t have to look farther than your neighbor down the street to see that our world is wracked by the consequences of sin and legacies of suffering. We know what it is to hurt. Our lives have given us huge burdens to carry, but sin is an offense against God and causes sorrows that only God in the flesh can carry.

The truth is, the only thing people can do with their pain is feel hurt. We can’t fix it; we can’t ignore it, and no matter how we try to hide it, it’s going to come out eventually. That’s what I came to grips with in the dumpster. My campers had complicated, often horrible lives, and I couldn’t fix them. They had burdens far beyond their—or my—strength.

But, if a person understands that Christ not only paid the price for his sin, but also willingly carries his suffering, he is freed. Not from pain’s existence, but from its control. Instead of being dominated by struggles, he can surrender them to God in a continuous act. That is the glory of life with Christ—something Donald and my campers don’t have. They have all the sorrow and none of the hope.

As I huddled in the dumpster, my thoughts turned to Psalm 139, our theme passage for camp. David asks, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” He paints a picture of God hunting him down wherever he tries to hide. Everywhere we go, God is with us, offering to take our punishment and our sorrows. That is true for everyone. It’s true for the girl who changes foster homes every year, for the boy who just lost his father to cancer, for the doubting, for the abused, for you, and for me. God continually, perfectly, lovingly offers to carry our pain.

Creating a Space for Redemption

How does Doubt speak into this need? Doubt does not flinch from the truth of human depravity but acknowledges the pain and speaks to often-overlooked brokenness. And all of these things are exactly what the church is called to do. I love Isaiah 61 because it reveals the heart of God “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” This is the same spirit we want to see reflected in ourselves, our school, and the global church. But it is God who does the binding; we can only be conduits of His healing.

At camp, I discovered that I could not change the sorrows inflicted by centuries of abuse. I can’t get my camper’s father out of prison or stop her uncle from raping her. All I could do was love and create a space for God to speak. Michael Card calls it “a frame around the silence where God speaks to the heart,” a space without distraction that encourages vulnerability with the Creator. A space that offers redemption.

So, back to the original question: Why Doubt? Why this play now? Because we need that space. As a campus, as a community, as the body of Christ, we need a space for vulnerability. We long for a frame around the silence for God to speak and for Christ to heal. We are weighed down with burdens only Christ can carry. How much lighter the load would be if they were surrendered to Him.

As we prepare for this show, I feel very much like a camp counselor again. I am staring down the giant of Sorrows that Calvary is about to meet head on. Doubt reveals a world’s weight of sorrow we cannot carry. But my time in the dumpster taught me that we were never meant to. We love wholeheartedly and pray for God to speak in the space we create.

Because in the end, this production is God’s work. All we can do is lend ourselves to its power, stand in the wings, and pray: “Thy Kingdom come.”

Counseling Student Interns at Local Pregnancy Center

Counseling Student Interns at Local Pregnancy Center

Brooke Glaszczak is spending her summer getting hands-on experience.

The weather may be sweltering, but Calvary’s students are finding ways to beat the heat and keep growing this summer.

Brooke Glaszczak is a Biblical Counseling major heading into her senior year this fall, and she is taking the summer to fulfill one of her degree requirements: a counseling internship. Students have a choice in where they complete their internship, and Brooke has been volunteering at Shiloh Center in Harrisonville, Missouri.

Shiloh Center is a crisis pregnancy center that provides women with physical resources, such as diapers and clothing, in exchange for the women coming to counseling sessions and parent training classes. Brooke says she chose to volunteer at Shiloh because her target audience for counseling is women and young adults, and the center is perfect for gaining experience in that area.

Twice a week, Brooke sorts through the piles of donations, organizes clothing, and shadows in-house counselors to watch their methods and learn for their experience. Brooke is excited about the impact she can see Shiloh Center making in the lives of the women who come there. “They are a really good resource for women who have no place to go… from the resources they give and the biblical counseling that they do and just talking to people. That’s a really huge impact because [these women] don’t have help like that.”

While Brooke loves hearing the client’s stories and seeing how God is working in their lives, it hasn’t all been easy. “There are definitely difficulties that I kind of prepped myself for, that ‘this might happen’, but seeing girls come in that have been abused or raped, or girls who come in who are planning on having abortions and just want the pregnancy test… it kind of just hits you in the face.” Despite the difficulties, Brooke is thankful for her time at Shiloh Center. God has used this internship to “encourage me by showing my inadequacies, because I’m seeing in my life where I can’t do anything, and it has to be God. I feel like, especially being a Biblical Counseling major, you’re dealing with people’s issues all the time and so, there’s a lot of dependency on God. Because one person really can’t handle all those things.” Referencing Matthew 11, she commented on how we aren’t supposed to carry every burden, but we find freedom in giving them to Christ and accepting his yoke.

Besides getting her one step closer to finishing her degree, Brooke’s time at Shiloh Center has energized her for the possibilities after graduation. “It’s kind of eased my nerves on what the future will look like because I’ve seen what God can do in the lives of other people.” Between the internship and the intentional time she has invested in spiritual growth this summer, she has found a different perspective. She is delving deeper into the importance of focusing on her own growth so that she can give to others out of that, “because you can’t give out of what you don’t have.”

Through her work at Shiloh, Brooke feels confident that biblical counseling is where her career path is, and she is becoming more excited about her field of study here at Calvary. She views her passion for counseling in light of both story and redemption. “We are coming alongside these people with broken stories and helping them to see how God can mend and heal what’s broken. It’s just exciting to be used in that way to be a part of that process and be a vessel to help with that. I love the idea of it and the system of counseling biblically because it’s a really good reflection of what Christ does for us. He comes alongside of us and helps us; encourages us.”

As she reflected on her time at Shiloh Center, Brooke pulled out this takeaway from her internship, “God can take messy and broken lives and turn them around for good… and God can use anyone in His story of redemption.”